By Ben Velderman
RICHLAND, Wash. – Former Richland Schools Superintendent Jim Busey wants the school board to give him his old job back, but he’s going about it in a very unusual way.
Busey was fired last month after it was revealed he had an affair with a district employee, a violation of the morals clause in his $160,000-a-year contract.
On the day before he was fired, Busey met with a district investigator and accused Richland school board members of lying to taxpayers and members of the local teachers union about the district’s financial condition, reports TheNewsTribune.com.
“According to the investigation report, Busey told (the district’s investigator) that he and the school board talked about shifting money around in the budget” to “prevent the Richland Education Association from noticing how much money the district had to hire staff,” TheNewsTribune.com reports.
“We had those conversations,” Busey told the investigator, according to a transcript of their conversation. “Not that you can’t (shift money around), because you surely can. You can do it by resolution, which we had done. You can do it be direct deposit. You can do it by spending some of that money that might have been budgeted elsewhere …”
Busey also claimed that a $98 million property tax measure – which voters approved just last week – is $36 million more than the district needs for its building and renovation plans, the news site reports.
Richland school board President Rick Jansons strongly denies both allegations.
“We don’t hide money, period, for any reason. Our books are open,” Jansons told TheNewsTribune.com.
Jansons added that if any of the $98 million bond money is left over, the district will hold public hearings to seek residents’ input as to how the funds should be used.
Busey’s attorney says his client was illegally fired because he did not receive a pre-termination hearing before getting losing his job, reports the Associated Press.
Fired official says school board lied to taxpayers, union
February 18, 2013
By Ben Velderman